South African supermarket operator Pick n Pay said it was “very disappointed” with half-year profits as earnings dropped and its growth was “behind the market”.

For the six months to the end of August, trading profit slid 41.5% to ZAR288m (US$33.1m), while EBITDA fell 16.4% to ZAR737m.

Pick n Pay said continued investments were impacting net profits, as well as the centralisation of its distribution operations using its expanded Longmeadow distribution centre.

The group added that its growth was “behind the market” and that it had experienced “out of stocks and teething problems” in category buying in the period.

Despite this, group turnover increased 5.9% to ZAR28.3bn and like-for-like sales were up 3.2%.

Looking ahead, Pick n Pay said it “can and must do much, much better”, adding the appointment of Richard Brasher as CEO brings “precisely the skills and experience we need to take the business forward”.